A Benrinnes review on Monday and there’ll be another Benrinnes review on Friday. In between here is a Craigellachie. This is another from K&L’s recent round of exclusive casks and is from a sherry butt. It’s been three years since my last Craigellachie review and almost four since my last review of one from a sherry cask. I am a big fan of the earthier, meatier style of spirit that Craigellachie produces and in my limited experience it’s particularly good coming out of good sherry casks. Is this one of them? Let’s see.
(And remember, as I announced in my review of K&L’s Bunnahabhain 12 last week, I have an exciting new feature for these K&L reviews: a second rating—Everybody Wins! or EW! for short—that those who get sad when I don’t give everything 90 points can look at and feel happy about.)
Craigellachie 16, 2003 (56.3%; Old Particular for K&L; sherry butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: A big farmy, organic note off the top—earthy and mushroomy along with something small and furry rotting in the wet undergrowth behind the barn. Metallic notes (old coins) and sweet citrus (orange) below that. Against all odds I’m getting a cereal note below all that. The citrus gets more pronounced as it sits and is joined by some apricot jam. The farmy note burns off for the most part but the earthy quality remains. A few drops of water release some sweeter red fruit (cherries)
Palate: Leads with the sweet citrus with meaty, savoury notes rising up and then there’s a big wave of char as I swallow. Very approachable at full strength with a rich texture. Earthier on the second sip. Stays pretty consistent with time with notes of graphite/pencil lead the main new aspect. With even more time and air the pepper from the finish shows up earlier. Okay, let’s add a bit of water. Sweeter here too with water; frankly, a bit too sweet for me and the pepper gets pushed back a bit.
Finish: Long. That char builds and picks up pepper and then it turns saltier at the end (salted nuts). As on the palate with water.
Comments: Oh, this is very nice indeed. I love this type of heavily sherried malt that leans into the earthy band of the spectrum (think Springbank as well). A perfect match for Craigellachie’s meaty spirit. Is there some peat in here as well? Wouldn’t surprise me. Anyway, I preferred this neat.
Rating: 88 points
EW! Rating: 140/100 points